Succulents make a great addition to any houseplant collection, especially if you live in a warm or sunny environment. But you don't have to have the ideal conditions indoors to keep these desert-loving plant thriving. Start with string of pearls, a forgiving (and adorable) plant that makes a great introduction to the succulent family. Caring for your string of pearls can seem daunting at first (so many beads to monitor!), but with a few easy tricks and a watering schedule, this plant can do just as well as other low-maintenance options. Read on for string of pearls plant care guidance to help you keep it thriving.
String of Pearls Basics
Native to the southern tip of Africa, the string of pearls plant is easily identified by its trailing vines of pea-like leaves. This succulent is also known as Curio rowleyanus, and it's actually a member of the daisy family; its white blooms have a cinnamon-like scent. The leaves may look like delicious legumes, but it's important to note that all parts of this plant are toxic to animals and humans; be sure to place it out of reach of curious hands and paws. Like any succulent, string of pearls can be somewhat tricky to care for, but with the right routine this plant can easily thrive indoors.
String of Pearls Plant Care
Potting and Soil
String of pearls needs well-draining, dry soil to give its roots room to breathe. We suggest using a succulent-specific soil mix or combining standard potting soil with ample amounts of sand or pearlite to aid with drainage and help prevent your plant from getting wet feet.
To display your plant to the best effect, we recommend potting string of pearls in a hanging vessel or on a ledge that allows its dramatic strands of round leaves to trail down.
Like jade plants and other succulents, string of pearls thrives when it gets a combination of bright direct and bright indirect sunlight. These plants prefer the soft morning light to be direct; in the afternoon, when the sun's rays are harsher, they love diffuse or partial sunlight. A spot near east- or west-facing windows is ideal.
It's important to keep your string of pearl plant's soil moist but never soggy. It's quite easy to overwater this plant, so be sure to check the water levels by touching the soil before watering again. If you notice your string of pearls' spherical leaves flattening, it's a sign the plant needs more water. A common timeline to follow is to water your plant once every seven to 14 days. Plants in hotter climates, kept outdoors during the summer months, or potted in porous terra-cotta containers may need water closer to every seven days, all depending on rain frequency and temperatures.
Temperature and Humidity
String of pearls plants prefer to grow in warm temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit during most of the year, but they can also thrive in the winter as long as the temperature doesn't drop below 50 degrees. This plant prefers low humidity, so avoid placing it in any already-humid areas of your home, like a kitchen or bathroom without proper ventilation.
You can supplement your string of pearls plant with fertilizer when it's growing its fastest, during the spring and summer. Every other watering is a good cycle to follow. There's no need to fertilize it during the fall or winter.
Remember, string of pearls likes a dry, warm climate. If you live in a place where temperatures dip below 50 degrees in the cooler months, go ahead and bring it indoors. It needs to go dormant to bloom, however. To encourage that, place it in a cool (35 to 45 degrees), dark space that gets about six hours of sun a day (your garage might do the trick), and water it sparingly.
How to Propagate a String of Pearls Plant
You can propagate a string of pearls plant easily from stem cuttings.
Cut a few stems, four to five inches long, directly below a leaf node.
Lay out the stems for a day or two to allow the ends to callous over.
Replant the stems in a container of succulent soil mixture.
Wait a few days, then water thoroughly and place the container in bright indirect light. Allow up to four weeks for the roots to take hold and new growth to begin.
Should I Prune My String of Pearls?
Pruning away any dead, dry, or leafless stems can help promote a fuller and bushier succulent. You can also prune back your plant if you notice it's getting too long or leggy. Always sterilize scissors or pruners with rubbing alcohol before and after cutting.
String of Pearl Succulent Varieties
Many vining succulents look similar to string of pearls. String of tears and string of raindrops have more elongated, teardrop-shaped leaves; string of watermelon or string of beads has round purplish leaves. Variegated string of pearls has round leaves with swirls of green and cream.
Common Problems for String of Pearls Plants
While a string of pearls plant rarely has issues with pests or disease, there are a few common issues to look out for. Most if not all of the usual problems string of pearls succulents experience deal with water—either not enough or, more often, too much.
Shriveling or wilting legs and leaves are common indicators of underwatering, too much sun, or a combination of the two. We recommend watering your plant immediately and then moving it to a slightly shadier area for a few days to help it recover.
Purple Leaves and Mushy Stems
These two traits are clear signs of overwatering. They're also likely indicators of root rot. To save the plant, first try to dry it out. You can repot it in dry soil. If that doesn't work or the plant is too far gone, you can propagate any live or healthy strands into a new pot.
String of Pearls FAQ
How Often Should I Water My String of Pearls?
We recommend watering your string of pearls succulent every 7 to 14 days. If your plant is in a terra-cotta pot, an especially bright spot, or a warm climate, you'll likely need to water closer to the 7 day mark. To check if your succulent needs water, stick a finger an inch or two into the soil to feel for moisture.
Does a String of Pearls Need Direct Sunlight?
Yes, but not all the time. It's ideal to put your plant in or near an east- or west-facing window so it can get plenty of morning light but avoid scalding afternoon sun.
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